The last update I gave on our adoption was way back in September of 2019 and I find it interesting that only one of the things on the list of what needed to happen has been completed because SO much has happened since that last update.
So the last update I gave was actually published on our daughter’s birthday. We weren’t legally a family yet, but that was the day that she opened a gift from an American family introducing themselves to her. Her caretakers recorded the moment and it was beautiful; an emotional culmination of her 10+ years of waiting and our nearly 2 years of wading through paperwork, background checks, stress and anxiety! Not long after that we were given permission to have our first video chat with her, but it would still be a long road ahead.
We received the news that our court date was scheduled for early December (the 5th, I believe). That day came and our case was pushed back 2 weeks. We had another video chat as we anxiously waited for the hearing, but again our case was pushed back another 2 weeks. Finally in January the judge heard our case and determined that because we were an American family trying to adopt an older child with special needs that we needed to appear before him.
Now I’ll give more details on this once all is said and done, but here’s the quick version. We had a few weeks to get everything in order and to get to India for our court date, and what a wild few weeks it was. It was simultaneously painfully long, and yet incredibly fast paced. Our boys ended up staying with their grandparents for the nearly two weeks we were out of the country (thanks again GiGi and Popi!) as my wife and I boarded a flight from Orlando to Dubai, and then moved on to Delhi.
Side note, if you’re planning a trip overseas I would recommend flying Emirates. The rates were reasonable, the seats were comfortable even for someone as tall as I am (6’4″), the food was good, and the in-flight entertainment options were excellent for both adults and kids.
India itself was a whole different kind of experience than I’ve ever had. The only time I’ve been out of the States before was going to Mexico and Belize but those were on vacations and only in country for a day for , so I don’t think those really count. This trip was far from a vacation. It had purpose, a mission, to go before the judge an plead the case for allowing our little girl to come home.
The day before court we were finally able to meet her face to face for the first time! We were all nervous, but once she came into the room, we all embraced and the next hour or so was full of God’s grace. After two full years of pressing and fighting against all sorts of odds, God had brought us to the other side of the world to hold this child who had spent her entire life longing for her parents, having to watch as child after child was adopted, and having to keep on waiting. We laughed, we cried, and we just snuggled together.
The next day, we all got dressed up and went to the courthouse. The judge called us in and had me take the stand. Going into the hearing I was super nervous. We’d heard reports of families being called to court where their presence in the room was all the judge wanted, and others where the families were interrogated to the point where they broke down or lashed out. By God’s grace, our experience was closer to the former. I was sworn in and was asked if we were Scottish or American because of our last name, and then he spoke solely to the lawyer. A few minutes later we were adjourned and being told by our guide that we had passed court; though to be honest, it all happened so fast we were struggling to really believe it had happened.
At this point we had been out of the country for nearly two weeks and our boys were really struggling. With another week or two needed in India to wrap up the legal stuff, we had to make the difficult decision to return home and come back for a second trip. It was a difficult decision to make as we wanted to stay and be able to bring he home this trip, but we felt strongly that it was important to come back and it was by God’s grace that we did as the day after we returned from India the first cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Delhi.
While we have been able to video chat with our daughter every week since we’ve gotten back, it’s still been difficult. It’s emotionally draining for us, and we can see in her eyes that she just wants to come be with us. By far the biggest frustration has been the shut downs and quarantines caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. The plan was to return in mid-May, after she was able to get some medical testing done, but with India shut down, that has been put on hold. Once the testing is done, we still have to wait 8 weeks for the results.
Please pray with us that the effects of this pandemic get under control and that she will be able to get her medical work done. Pray with us that we will be able to travel back to India when the time comes and for God’s protection over all of us as we make our way there and back again.
Thanks again to everyone who is praying, and who has been for the last two years (or however long you’ve followed these updates). I cannot wait to share the full story once all is said and done.